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UNIQUE JENNY INVERT 1918 PLATE # BLOCK
OF FOUR IS SOLD FOR NEARLY $5 MILLION!
By Jay Tell, October 29, 2014 [story since updated, edited] ©
Donald Sundman, owner of Mystic Stamp Co. of Camden, NY revealed that his prize possession, the one-of-a-kind 1918 Jenny Invert Plate Number Block of Four was sold on October 7, 2014 for, as Sundman said, 'north of $4.8 million.' The once-anonymous buyer is revealed to be Stuart Weitzman, world-famous celebrity shoe designer and stamp collector.
Both the normal 1918 24¢ airmail stamps (Scott Catalogue #C3) and the 24¢ Jenny inverted stamps (#C3a) -- the most famous stamp errors in the world -- are named for the Curtiss JN-4 'Jenny' biplane, an early barnstorming two-winged 'aeroplane' featured in great detail in the first American airmail stamp's blue center, or 'vignette.' Speculation abounded as for which mysterious gal the 'Jenny' plane was named. Alas, my research reveals a far less romantic explanation: the 'JN-4' painted on each of the 6,813 biplanes built between 1915 and 1919 -- which were a key American military factor in helping to win World War One -- used an open top '4' which looked like a 'Y' – and the catchy 'Jenny' nickname stuck.
The Jenny Invert Plate Block's fascinating price history begins in 1918. William T. Robey 'struck lightning' purchasing the full sheet of 100 inverts at the Washington D.C. New York Avenue post office for face value, just $24. Defying postal inspectors' threats, he sold it six days later for $15,000 to renowned Philadelphia stamp dealer Eugene Klein -- who had already pre-sold the sheet for $20,000 to Colonel Edward H. R. Green, one of America's wealthiest investors, son of the ruthless and miserly Hetty Green, the notorious 'Witch of Wall Street.' Hetty died two years earlier, in 1916, leaving her son a $100 million fortune, after years of her guilt because he lost a leg as a boy, when she refused to pay the doctor.
Green asked Klein to break up the sheet -- with Green keeping the key line, center-line, and other blocks -- including the unique plate number block (then, a block of eight). Green consigned singles back to Klein for sale. Into the 1920's, Klein advertised Jenny Invert mint singles at $175 for a 'straight edged copy,' $250 for an 'example with full perforations,' later $350, then $650. It was reported that Green’s wife Mabel inadvertently placed a Jenny invert on an envelope to mail, but they retrieved it in time. (Imagine the dinner table discussion that night!) One Jenny invert fell out of the album and was swept up in a vacuum by an errant housekeeper (who was not fired). Another Jenny invert was found in the suit breast pocket of a corpse after a frantic search, just seconds before the gent's burial -- in a failed attempt 'to take it with him.'
In recent years, unused Jenny Invert singles have brought $126,500 to $1.31 million each; with prices affected greatly by condition. Two choice Jenny Invert singles in 2014 fetched $575,000 each at auction. In December 2007, two exceptional Jenny invert examples had both sold, just weeks apart, for $935,000 and $977,500 respectively -- with that record to be toppled nearly a decade later, on May 31, 2016, by an almost superb gem -- the highest quality Jenny invert yet graded, at 95 (of 100) -- which achieved the stunning new record of $1.31 million at auction; and sold to an anonymous buyer.
Green's estate auctioned his vast holdings in 1942 including his remaining Jenny inverts. After the plate number block of eight was divided, in 1953 the unique upside-down Jenny Plate Number Block of Four fetched $18,250. It sold in 1980 for $1.1 million (was the buyer the rumored Ted Turner?). In 2005, it sold for $2.97 million to billionaire Bill Gross, who traded the unique Jenny Invert Plate Block two weeks later to Mystic Stamp Company. In that world-famous swap Gross received the 1868 1¢ Franklin 'Z Grill' (two are known) which completed his award-winning 19th century U.S. collection -- the first time in history anyone owned every issued full-numbered 19th century U.S. stamp -- including the one-of-a-kind 24¢ 1875 Lost Continental -- America's only unique and rarest United States stamp (see the full story in Jay Tell's bio).
With this sale for nearly $5 million, the Jenny Invert Plate Number Block remains the world record holder for any U.S. philatelic 'item' (a multiple or single stamp). Jenny is second to the British Guiana 1856 1¢ magenta 'crème de la crème' which Sotheby's sold in 2014 for $9.5 million, more than four times the prior 1996 single stamp record of $2.2 million.
Using $4.85 million as the possible price, compared to its $18,250 first auction realization in 1953, the stunning Jenny Invert 'one-of-a-kind' Plate Number Block of Four singular masterpiece appreciated an astonishing 26,575% in 61 years.
Aviation was still new when the first airmail stamp was rush-printed for issue on May 13, 1918 -- as World War One was still blazing. Philatelists including Robey were aware that inverts were possible since two-color U.S. stamps issued in 1869 and 1901 had produced a few world-famous inverted errors. In that era, stamp sheets with two or more colors were hand-fed into the press -- once for each color -- creating the possibility of a printer error on one or more sheets. In the week before, Robey, 29, predicted to his wife and to a close friend that he was 'looking for' and 'might find' an inverted sheet of the new airmail bi-colored stamp. On that fateful May 14, 1918 Robey, a junior bank cashier, withdrew $30 from his account -- six weeks of his $5-a-week wages -- with that specific miracle possibility in mind. When the post office employee took $24 and handed him the sheet of 100 Jenny inverts, Robey said, 'My heart stood still.' The rest is history.
The postal clerk who sold the 'topsy-turvy' Jenny invert sheet of 100 to Robey was later asked how he failed to realize it was inverted. He replied, 'How was I supposed to know the thing was upside down? I never saw an airplane before!' ###
THE WORLD'S MOST VALUABLE STAMP
SOLD AT SOTHEBY'S FOR $9.5 MILLION!
By Jay Tell, June 17, 2014 [story since updated, edited] ©
The world's most valuable stamp, the unique 1856 British Guiana 1¢ magenta -- the 'Holy Grail of Stamps' -- or the 'Mona Lisa of Philately' -- was sold on June 17, 2014 by Sotheby's (established in 1744) in New York -- after viewings for prospective bidders in London and Hong Kong -- and achieved the single stamp new world-record auction price of $9.5 million dollars -- shattering by 430% the prior world record for a single stamp of $2.2 million set in 1996 by a Swedish 1855 error of color stamp.
This incomparable icon of the stamp world was discovered in an attic by a 12-year old school boy -- and sold for $1.50 in 1873 -- $750 in 1878 -- $36,000 in 1922 -- $45,000 in 1940 -- $280,000 in 1970 -- $935,000 in 1980 to philanthropist John E. du Pont (1938-2010), heir to the du Pont fortune -- who died in prison for the second-degree murder (with diminished capacity) of his wrestling partner, Olympic Gold Medalist Dave Schultz -- subject of the 2014 critically acclaimed Steve Carell film, Foxcatcher.
This 'stuff of dreams' set its fourth consecutive single-stamp world-record auction price since 1922, realizing more than ten times its $935,000 price from 1980. This sea-change auction event (the first time the legendary prize was offered in 34 years) earned unprecedented media coverage attracting major art collectors, real estate tycoons, stock and bond investors. This worldwide publicity increases interest in, and demand for, all rare stamps. With today's instant news (PC, lap top, tablet, iPad, smart phone, Twitter, etc.), within hours hundreds of millions around the world knew of this historic sale. Since 1878, this timeless treasure's exquisite mystique, allure, romance, excitement and value has grown with each new generation.
In 1856, with his stamp shipment delayed, the British Guiana postmaster ran out of stamps. He asked a local newspaper publisher to quickly design and print temporary stamps -- which philatelists call 'postmaster provisionals' -- but he was unhappy with the simple design. To make it more difficult for forgers, he had a postal employee signed his initials on every stamp before it was sold. The 1¢ rate was often used on newspaper wrappers, which upon receipt were then typically discarded -- but this lone example survived. It was discovered 17 years later by L. Vernon Vaughn, a sharp-eyed 12-year-old lad, a stamp collector, while rummaging through in his parents' attic -- to the sheer delight of countless generations of philatelists, historians, and wordsmiths.
'Damus Petimus Que Vicissum’ -- (‘We give and expect in return’)
At just 1 / 300th of an ounce -- only 1" x 1.25" in size -- it is 'the most valuable object on earth for its size and weight.' This tiny but powerful 'solitary grandeur' -- since 1878 'the locomotive of the stamp world' -- was once owned by Count Philippe la Renotiere von Ferrary who amassed the world's greatest stamp collection -- which was seized in 1918 by France for World War One German war reparations -- and sold in 14 landmark auctions from 1920 to 1925. In 1922, King George V, the under-bidder at the auction, shocked everyone by failing to buy this 'creme de la creme' -- and today it is the only British rarity missing from the fabulous 2,500-album Royal Heirloom Philatelic Collection -- begun in 1856 by Queen Victoria's son, Prince Alfred.
Rumors abounded as to the identity of the $9.5 million dollar mystery buyer, an anonymous telephone bidder. Perhaps it was billionaire Bill Gross? His stamp collection reportedly tops $100 million in value. Or Warren Buffett, Sheldon Adelson, Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Ted Turner, or Steve Wynn? Perhaps the buyer was Great Britain's Royal Family? That would correct the blunder of King George V who allowed the stamp to sell in 1922 for 'only' $36,000 to shrewd American textile mogul Arthur Hind.
Alas, it has been revealed the $9.5 million buyer is Stuart Weitzman, world-famous celebrity shoe designer, who loaned the 1856 stamp icon to the Smithsonian National Postal Museum which exhibited the treasure at World Stamp Expo NY in 2016.
Special Note: This is not just a stunning event in stamp history; to me it is quite personal. In the early 1950's, since about age seven or eight, I marveled at stories in The New York Times, Reader's Digest, Life, Look, Time, Newsweek, Coronet and elsewhere about the famous 1¢ British Guiana stamp having graced world-renowned collections. Back then, the world's largest and most famous stamp dealer, Henry Ellis Harris of Boston, estimated its worth at 'the grand sum of $50,000.' My childhood memories are not unique -- since its discovery in 1878 millions of all ages have swooned over this magical, mystical masterpiece -- which is ingrained in our culture, our heritage -- whether or not you are a stamp collector. It was profoundly humbling to me as a youth, as it is today, to know that no other stamp -- that I or anyone else will own -- will ever equal its stature, majesty or value.
At the packed Sotheby's Auction Gallery, many cameras whirred from major networks -- far more press than for Van Gogh's $110 million 'Irises' (now in the Getty Museum). This once-in-a-generation story was covered by worldwide wire services and newspapers, cable/satellite TV, radio, magazines, discussion groups, chat rooms, forums, blogs -- as no other art or collectibles story in history. This 'eternal stamp' simply transcends philately; many non-collectors have heard of it. Since their childhoods, I have told this story to my three daughters and to my grandchildren, and I hope it is passed on to our descendants, forever. ### ©
~ BIO OF JAY TELL ~ ©
Jay has more than 50 years experience as a rare stamp and rare coin dealer, uniting treasures with serious collectors and savvy investors since 1958. Backed by a lifetime of expertise, he is a skilled buyer and appraiser, polished court-certified expert witness, confidential consultant, trusted agent -- and a lifelong specialist in U.S. and world stamp and coin classics, rarities, errors, inverted centers, etc. Jay handles all kinds of other collectibles: currency, presidential and historical documents, rare autographs, film and sports memorabilia, antiques, old photos, vintage jewelry, gold and silver. Born in North Bergen, New Jersey in 1944, Jay is a former newspaper editor and publisher, investigative reporter, columnist, and is a lifelong writer.
Jay began his lifelong love-affair with stamps and coins as a boy, and had his first show booth in 1958, at 14, shared with a friend, lifelong dealer Marvin Frey, at the very first New York Interpex Stamp Expo. As a teenager, Jay visited old masters on legendary Nassau Street (hundreds of dealers in a few blocks; 50 in one building, famous 116 Nassau Street) for his specialty, misprints. An emerging entrepreneur, he pioneered the tiny error field which he helped grow to never imagined popularity. Jay became trusted by older dealers who
taught him -- 'Your word is your bond.' 'High ethics are moral and good business.' 'You are not just selling stamps and coins, you are selling knowledge.' And -- 'Everything a dealer buys should be for sale - don't compete with your collector and investor clients.' In the 1960s rents soared on Nassau Street (adjacent to Wall Street) -- so dealers were forced to move, ending the hobby's Golden Age -- the final years of which Jay treasures as an integral part of his values.
Jay owned and operated five Los Angeles retail stamp and coin stores from the 1960's to the 1990's - starting in 1965 at age 21. He has handled more than 100,000 career transactions for millions of dollars in store sales, floor and mail auctions, trade shows, mail order, internet; with zero complaints in his years as a licensed and bonded California stamp and coin auctioneer.
The Nobel Prize (physics, chemistry) is inscribed, 'For they who bettered life on earth by their newly found mastery.'
Jay made philatelic history when he bought and sold the only UNIQUE United States full-numbered stamp, the 1875 24¢ Winfield Scott, Scott #164, printed by the Continental Bank Note Company -- so Jay named it the Lost Continental. The original discoverer, from San Diego, California was unable to sell it for 31 frustrating years (1968-1999); in three decades he had just one cash offer -- only $2,000. The stamp was rejected, ridiculed and belittled by the world's leading stamp dealers and most prominent auction firms who disparaged its legitimacy -- convincing major collectors and world-class investors to 'stay away.' In 1999, Jay was called to see it.
When approached by the disheartened owner, Jay soon became convinced the purple adhesive was authentic. He researched its amazing history and launched a major educational, publicity, editorial, promotional and advertising campaign at his own expense. He boldly took on very powerful interests who were determined to protect another stamp, the 1868 1¢ Franklin Z Grill, Scott #85A, which was widely but 'incorrectly' promoted for 30 years as America’s rarest stamp. Yes, it is a great rarity, but there are two known examples of the 1¢ Z Grill, so, if Jay’s #164 -- with only one known to exist -- was validated with a meaningful sale, the famous Z Grill would drop to second place. Quite simply, one extant is rarer than two. Despite millions spent for decades by industry leaders on countless ads, articles, books and catalogs 'erroneously' claiming the Z Grill to be the rarest U.S. stamp -- it was soon to topple off its lofty perch.
Legendary philatelic authors were pioneer stamp experts of the late 19th and 20th century (Luff, Perry, Ashbrook, Chase, Brookman), but they could only presume or surmise that #164 should exist since no 24¢ Winfield Scott had ever been found on ribbed paper -- which positively identifies it as a Continental Bank Note Company printing. It features a color not seen before -- 'slate bluish purple' -- and the bold 'six leaf' fancy cancel used during this narrow period. Additionally, the #164 has the 'partially weak plate impression' incredibly predicted in Lester Brookman's 1947 three-volume master work. Undiscovered since 1875, lost to the sands of time until 1968 -- the Lost Continental was not truly acknowledged for 124 years until Jay's landmark 1999 sale.
Jay’s ground-breaking research was featured in stories, large ads, and his hard-hitting four-page Tell Tales column (12/17/99) in Mekeel's and Stamps Magazine, America's oldest philatelic weekly, established in 1891. His media blitz boldly challenged industry leaders, and headlined: 'The famous Z Grill was NOT America's rarest stamp' as major auction firms and top dealers had widely but incorrectly promoted for decades. Jay made a compelling case for the authenticity of the Winfield Scott ribbed paper classic. The romance and excitement of Jay's Lost Continental expose earned comprehensive news coverage and full-page editorial support in the three most influential stamp publications. After 31 years of ridicule by so-called ‘experts’ with obvious ulterior motives -- in just eight weeks from start to finish, in the first-ever one-lot dedicated internet auction (12/21/1999), Jay sold the #164 treasure for $397,838, which is still the internet world-record for any single stamp.
News of the historic event rocked the stamp world. It is by far the rarest and most valuable philatelic showpiece exclusively marketed on the internet, earning banner news stories in the philatelic press and in daily newspapers. Jay was interviewed on three TV news programs. In January 2000, amid armed guards, the only known example of the 24¢ Winfield Scott ribbed paper Lost Continental was the top exhibit at San Diego’s 28th annual SANDICAL Stamp Expo setting the all-time attendance record.
Scott #164 is now recognized by the renowned Scott Stamp Catalogue (established in 1868) as the only unique United States full-numbered postage stamp. It is certified as the only authentic #164 Continental Bank Note Company 24¢ stamp in the world by the prestigious Philatelic Foundation in New York (established in 1945) -- the 'Supreme Court' of philatelic expertise. And #164 is proudly celebrated in the Court of Honor as America's Rarest Stamp by the American Philatelic Society (established in 1886), the world's oldest, largest and most respected stamp organization.
No museum has #164, not even the Smithsonian National Postal Museum. No one can complete a U.S. stamp collection without the Lost Continental. Even the $8 million Zoellner collection, once the most valuable U.S. collection, did not have this key stamp, which now resides in the fabulous Bill Gross collection reportedly valued at more than $100 million. His award-winning 19th century U.S. stamp collection could not be complete without its capstone, its flagship, the unique #164, the only one in the world.
Jay’s acquisition of the Lost Continental and his landmark auction sale of #164 for nearly $400,000 also established the first shot out of the box world record, an unprecedented initial sale never equaled before or since. Plus, #164 holds the world record for the highest price for any single stamp or philatelic item ever exclusively sold on the internet. The 'singular sweet splendor' Lost Continental today is estimated at $2-$3 million. Becoming the first dealer in history to buy and sell America's Rarest Stamp is the crowning achievement of Jay’s exciting career begun as a collector since the age of five, and as a dealer since the age of 14 in his New Jersey attic.
In 1962, an 18-year-old Jay was the first stamp and coin editor of the Las Vegas Sun creating a Sunday magazine editorial and advertising spread. The world’s largest stamp newspaper, Linn's Stamp News (established in 1928), reprinted some of Jay's articles. Jay attended Nevada Southern University (later to become UNLV) serving as Editor-in-Chief of the college newspaper. He worked nights in 1962-63 as a busboy and waiter at the legendary Sands Hotel, epicenter of the entertainment world during the luminous 'Rat Pack' era of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr, Joey Bishop, Peter Lawford, etc.
Jay co-managed his first political campaign at age 18, in 1962, before he could even vote, and the stunning victory of unknown Ted Marshall for Clark County District Attorney remains one of the biggest upsets in Nevada political history. A decade later, in 1971, Jay’s newspaper, the Las Vegas Free Press, risked everything by running an explosive expose which prevented a 'cinch’ win by the huge favorite in the Las Vegas City Commission race, Paul Price, the powerful but corrupt top columnist for the Las Vegas Sun. After his shocking defeat, Price sued for $500,000 for 'libel' but the charges were proved and the case was settled totally in Jay's favor.
Jay joined the American Philatelic Society (established in 1886) in 1963 (Life Member), and the American Numismatic Association (established in 1891) in 1964 (Emeritus Member) -- one of only a few members honored by each of these elite organizations with both the APS and ANA 50th Anniversary Medals.
In 1964, at 19, Jay opened his first stamp and coin office, in downtown Los Angeles (in the Stack Building), soon opening a retail store on Spring Street in the financial district, first of his five Los Angeles retail stamp and coin stores spanning four decades, the 1960s to the 1990s.
Considered one of the most beautiful stamps, this $1 Cattle in the Storm (from a John MacWhirter painting)
is part of the nine-stamp set (1¢ to $2.00) commemorating the 1898 Trans-Mississippi Exposition in Omaha.
In 1965, at 21, Jay became the first stamp and coin editor of the Los Angeles Times, creating 'Stamp & Coin Corner' a popular Sunday column that ran for 30 years. In 1965, he leased the Lesser Building penthouse on Wilshire Blvd in Beverly Hills, installing the first nationwide coin teletype system, serving clients from all walks of life including film and TV producers, directors, and actors. In 1965-1969, his Fairfax store (adjacent to LA's original Farmers Market) pioneered and helped create the modern stamp, coin, collectible and bullion business.
His next three retail stores were in LA's San Fernando Valley -- in Sherman Oaks 1973-1974 -- Studio City 1974-1983 -- and Tarzana 1984-1992, his largest, an upscale 2,000 sq ft retail showroom and auction gallery featuring an impressive holding of rare stamps and coins, classics, errors, inverted centers, historical and presidential documents, rare autographs, paper money, mail and floor auctions, antiques, jewelry, early books, gold and silver.
Jay Tell’s memberships:
In the 1960s and 1970s, Jay's fearless investigative reporting championed civil and human rights, protecting the environment, a drug-free non-smoking healthy lifestyle and natural foods. He backed stronger federal and state health care coverage, equal opportunity and protection for all Americans. Often for the underdog, he supported minimum wage increases, equal pay for equal work for women, the first Fair Housing Law, and the new Public Defender's Office so each accused person gets a Constitutionally-required attorney -- principles which were then controversial but are now more widely accepted. Jay opposed the Vietnam war but supported our valiant troops and mourned his fiancee's brother and the 58,220 brave U.S. military who tragically died there. In the 1970s, Jay owned Nevada's very first health restaurant, Food for Thought.
Bobby Darin was Jay’s close friend and business partner, and his 1973 death at only 37 is still an irreplaceable loss. Bobby wrote and recorded 'Splish Splash' and 'Dream Lover', and sang 'Beyond the Sea', 'If I Were A Carpenter' and the mega-hit 'Mack the Knife' winning two Grammy awards. Bobby recorded 300+ songs, 30 albums, and outdrew Frank Sinatra at the Copacabana and other top nightclubs. He co-starred in 13 films, was nominated for a coveted Oscar, and won a Golden Globe.
In 1970, with life-threatening health issues and in retrospection rethinking the meaning of fame and fortune, his career was quiet. Jay truly believed in Bobby's amazing talents and negotiated (gratis, as a friend) Bobby's highest-ever salary, $40,000 a week, at top Las Vegas Strip Hotels. A month of main room sold-out performances at the Landmark was followed by two engagements of one month each at the famed Desert Inn resort. Bobby's career took off (again) and in his last year with us, before his 'final curtain,' he starred in his own weekly NBC-TV one-hour prime-time variety show. Since childhood, Bobby had suffered from heart-damaging rheumatic fever and knew, since the tender age of eight, he would not live a long life -- but boy, did he live a full one!
In 2003, on the anniversary of his friend's passing, Jay wrote the 'Bobby Darin 30th Anniversary Tribute' now published on more than 30 websites -- given gratis, upon request -- to honor Jay's dear friend. Enjoy Bobby's 'Horacio Alger' story at...
http://www.canadafreepress.com/golden-oldies/bobby-darin040407.htm ...and... http://www.bronxbabe.com/Page27.html
Bobby Darin, his son Todd, his wife Sandra Dee
Jay's late father, Jack Tell, was a St. John's University Law School graduate who joined The New York Times rising to an assistant editor, the first person in America to see and realize the historical importance of brutal dictator Mussolini's WW2 upside-down death photo. A relative was stamp editor of the New York Post, so Jay grew up within both the journalism and philatelic communities. He attended the University of Nevada, Reno and Las Vegas. In 1960, Jay's parents, Jack and Bea Tell, purchased Mark Twain's world-famous Virginia City Territorial Enterprise newspaper from history and railroad author Lucius Beebe and moved the family West. At 17, Jay cut his journalistic teeth writing, researching, editing, and setting headlines with ornate hand-carved wood fonts. He helped run the same century-old Mealy flat-bed press actually used by Mark Twain and an historic Linotype melting lead ‘pigs’ for 'hot type' galley proofs.
In 1965, the Tell family founded the Las Vegas Israelite -- 'Nevada's only English-Jewish newspaper' -- well-respected, still going strong in its 52nd year of continuous publication -- and still family-owned -- with Jay's brother, Michael Tell, at the helm.
In 1958, Jay's first major ‘find’ was an 8¢ Liberty plate number block with only one five-digit plate number instead of two (normally, there is one plate number for each color, blue and carmine). It was rejected as a ‘fake’ by major, longtime New York stamp dealers. The owner disagreed since he’d purchased it at the post office. Veteran dealers referred him to an 'error specialist’ across the Hudson River in New Jersey. He was shocked and amused when the ‘Mr.' Tell turned out to be 14 years old with three attic rooms of Lionel trains, planes, toy soldiers, stamps and coins. The man’s asking price was only $3.75 which included 50¢ for his round trip bus fare. After inspection, Jay purchased the widely scorned item and was thrilled to get a certificate of authenticity from the renowned Philatelic Foundation in New York. He soon sold the error for $250 -- a fortune for a ninth grader in 1958 -- and a life-changing confidence builder. It was the first of only five 8¢ Liberty (Scott #1041) one-number errors ever discovered, and Jay has handled three (ask for the exciting Tell Tales full story gratis, via email).
At 14 years old, Jay's first major 'find' with only one plate number instead of two.
Of five of these rarities known to exist, Jay has handled three, including the first.
In 1959, at 15, Jay published a 16-page illustrated price list, the first solely devoted to stamp errors, now a classic in the field. Jay has announced major finds of rarities and errors not in catalogs. In 1961, Nassau Street dealer Morris Greebel consigned a 1918 Jenny Inverted Center (Scott #C3a) to Jay who sold it for $4,500, turning a tidy $500 profit for the 17-year-old. Today, Jenny Inverts are the world's most famous stamp errors, having sold for $126,500 to $1.31 million each (depending on condition). From the only sheet of 100 Jenny Inverts discovered, by William T. Robey in 1918, 97 are known, three are missing (request the compelling Tell Tales story).
The unique 1918 Jenny Invert Plate # Block of Four, 'the stuff of dreams,' sold in 1953 for $18,250, in 1989 for $1.1 million, in 2005 for $2.97 million, and in October, 2014 for nearly $5 million -- an increase of 26,575%. Along with other fabulous U.S. and worldwide philatelic treasures, each a miniature work of art, a large poster of the iconic Jenny Invert Plate # Block of Four with its colorful history is displayed in the Smithsonian National Postal Museum's new 12,000 sq ft William H. Gross Gallery.
The unique 1918 Jenny INVERTED CENTER Plate # Block of Four sold for nearly $5 million in 2014.
In 1966, at 22, Jay helped list silver dollars on the N.Y Mercantile Exchange; and later sold his seat for a profit. Bank depository receipts for 'Morgan' and 'Peace' U.S. silver dollars (1878/1935) in 1,000-coin bags became America’s newest trading commodity, and the landmark event earned a spread in Fortune Magazine. Jay was interviewed on TV and radio programs, including the nationwide Joe Pyne Show broadcast on hundreds of stations coast to coast. Jay urged the public and his clients to collect and invest in rare stamps and coins with a finite supply and strong demand -- which have since greatly appreciated.
Pair, L near-normal, R with black 100% omitted
In 1990, a major discovery of Jay’s was again news. The 20¢ multicolored 1982 'Love' stamp plate # block of four contained the only two copies known to exist with the purple color 100% omitted -- a unique rarity certified authentic by the esteemed Philatelic Foundation of New York. Jay's advertising and publicity blitz yielded front-page stories and the one-of-a-kind treasure sold for a record $22,000. The 'singular showpiece' is now listed as major error #1951e, without a price, in the Scott Stamp Catalogue.
Jay is a former consultant-contributor to the prestigious Scott Stamp Catalogue, since 1868 the premier annual philatelic reference essential for millions of collectors, dealers, investors around the world; the indispensable standard of the industry.
Jay has handled world-class stamp and coin rarities, famous errors, proofs, essays, covers, 19th and 20th century classics, unique treasures, one-of-a-kind showpieces. Jay has bought and sold perhaps 300 U.S. inverted centers, probably more than any other dealer except major auction houses. Most collectors and dealers have never owned even one prized inverted center in their lifetime.
The 24¢ 1869 Pictorial INVERTED CENTER depicts in just 3/8" x 5/8" 23 Founders (nine with faces) presenting a
draft of the Declaration of Independence (from John Trumbull's 12' x 18' iconic painting gracing the U.S. Capitol
Rotunda since 1826). Of 90+ known 24¢ 1869 topsy-turvy treasures, Jay has handled perhaps 12. This historic,
stirring portrait is the final freeze-frame of the 1972 film 1776. Jay says "I get chills; the painting, the stamp and
the movie memorialize the momentous, magnificent, matchless, magical moment -- when America was born." ©
John Trumbull's huge 1819 painting shows 42 of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence. We forgive the talented micro-engraver of the 24¢ 1869 Pictorial Issue, for depicting 'only' 23 Founders in the stamp's tiny vignette.
Since 1958, Jay has bought and sold rare autographs, letters, signed photos, historical documents and manuscripts -- such as large, ribbon-bound Presidential Patents (1825,1833,1856) signed by Presidents John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, James Buchanan; and Henry Clay, famed Speaker of the House. Jay has bought and sold a signed Albert Einstein hand- written letter and signed photos of Einstein, JFK, FDR and many other historic figures; also a Ty Cobb handwritten letter and a 1957 N.Y. Yankee team baseball with 23 ink signatures including Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Don Larson (only World Series Perfect Game), Enos Slaughter, Billy Martin, Bill Skowron, Hank Bauer, Bobby Shantz, Tony Kubek, Carey, Terry.
Phones: 818.905.1111 or 818.515.1222 Fax: 818.905.1114